News Archive

Evaluation reports published - National Climate Initiative is effective

Since 2008, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWK) have been funding climate protection projects throughout Germany with the National Climate Initiative (NKI). From 2008 to the end of 2021, around 40,000 NKI funding projects were completed with a volume of more than 1.3 billion euros. The National Climate Initiative was monitored and evaluated from the very beginning. As part of a large project consortium, ifeu supported the lead organisation Öko-Institut e.V. in the multi-year evaluations. By the end of 2021, the projects had already achieved net savings of more than 15 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Over the duration of the projects, this will amount to around 33 million tonnes. This is the conclusion reached by the evaluation team.

The current studies focus on almost 5,000 projects that were completed and evaluated in 2020 and 2021. These were funded with 286 million euros.

Overall, the scientists rate the NKI very favourably. According to the analysis, it is precisely the mix of strategic development, model and demonstration projects, economic incentives through investment grants for climate protection technologies as well as networking, information provision and advice that makes the NKI unique. It reaches stakeholders directly in various ways and motivates them to protect the climate. The flexibility of the NKI is also emphasised very positively. Funding guidelines and calls for funding are regularly adapted in order to reach the target groups and stakeholders in a customised manner, take new developments and topics into account, create incentives and thus have the greatest possible impact.

Transforming society sustainably

In addition to achieving climate protection targets, the NKI aims to contribute to socio-ecological transformation. To this end, various target groups in diverse areas of life and work are addressed. The evaluation has shown that this approach is successful. The involvement of multipliers could be improved, as this potential is often not yet sufficiently utilised.

Maintain a wide range of offers

The authors of the study recommend maintaining the diversity of the NKI's programmes in order to strengthen the core approaches. The NKI impresses with its diversity and its flexibility to take up new topics, approaches and potential, while at the same time continuing tried-and-tested programmes. Plannable funding is particularly important in order to be able to build up structural and organisational elements and use them continuously, thereby making the greatest possible contribution to climate protection.

The NKI and its successes have become much more visible in recent years - for example, the Agency for Municipal Climate Protection was set up (ifeu is also involved here). This would also be a sensible measure for other calls for funding, and the ministry could also be involved in order to spread the message even further. "In this way, the NKI can become an umbrella brand that creates trust and whose logo stands for quality and incentive," concludes Öko-Institut scientist Dr Katja Schumacher, who has been in charge of the evaluations for several years.

Further information (in German):

To the study Evaluation of the National Climate Initiative - complete study Status August 31.12.2021, published december 2023 

To the Methodenhandbuch zur Evaluation der Nationalen Klimaschutzinitiative (NKI), published december 2023.

More information about  Agency for Municipal Climate Protection  (Evaluation reports of the individual directives and calls for proposals (Kommunalrichtlinie, Förderaufruf Innovative Klimaschutzprojekte, Mini-KWK-Richtlinie, Kälte-Klima-Richtlinie, Förderaufruf „Klimaschutz durch Radverkehr“, Kommunale Netzwerke-Richtlinie, Masterplan-Richtlinie und Förderaufruf „Kurze Wege für den Klimaschutz“) as well as summarised programme profiles of the NKI evaluation 2008-2021 can be found

Link to ifeu-Projectsite